'Flatlanders' flock to Mountain Man re-enactment in Sequim
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Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News
Eric Sisk of Seattle and Donna Helgeson of Sedro-Woolley re-enact old days in the hills above Sequim on Sunday.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM — A 19th-century-style trading camp that popped up over the weekend is set to be dismantled this afternoon, after a busy Labor Day weekend enlightening flatlanders about life in the hills.

The Green River Mountain Men Rendezvous has been taking place on on Slab Camp Road, just off Lost Mountain Road, accessed by Taylor Cutoff Road.

While a long-rifle shoot is scheduled to take place today, most events are over for the weekend, and many attendees will be packing to leave, said Vickie Shurr, who organized registrations for the four-day event.

The black powder shooting range will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., however, and some vendors will still be selling their wares.

Saturday's events were better attended by “flatlanders,” the Mountain Man term for visitors, than in 2012, Shurr said.

On Sunday, visitors began arriving at noon for another busy day in the primitive camp, which included a trading post, a shooting range and a historic re-creation camp including many styles of the tents used by traders and trappers of the early to mid-19th century.

About 1830, the Hudson's Bay Co., with the blessing of the British government, essentially controlled the Pacific Northwest, including trade and authorization to make and enforce laws.

Period-accurate activities at the Sequim camp this weekend included black-powder shoots with Derringer pistols and flintlock and caplock rifles, primitive archery and knife throwing, a Dutch oven cooking competition, scrimshaw art, traditional music, mountain-style storytelling and children's games.

The weather has been perfect for the Rendezvous, said Donna Manke, 49, and Donna Helgeson, 58, both of Sedro-Woollsey.

The only downside was that because of the current fire ban, traditional cooking over campfires wasn't possible, Manke said.

Instead, those taking part prepared traditional dishes — such as stews and bread — over gas stoves.

In the next tent, Eric Sisk, 61, of Seattle relaxed Sunday in his comfortable homemade tent with a banjo on his lap, with which he entertained his camping neighbors, Manke and Helgeson.

Sisk, a cardiac sonographer, said that the first time a cardiologist he works with suggested the event, he didn't think it was for him.

“I thought, 'That's weird,'” he said, but added that after trying it once, he has been coming back to it for 10 years.

Vendors at the Rendezvous were offering a wide variety of period reproduction camping gear, cooking utensils, tools and weapons.

A series of demonstrations introduced this year, offering basic lessons in period crafts such as beading and fur preservation, were very popular, said Karen Haas, camp storyteller.

The increased attendance has meant that the event continues to expand, according to organizers.

But with more people visiting, more food and beverages are needed, they said.

Vendors interested in offering food and refreshments at the 2014 event should contact Shurr at 3shurrs@yahoo.com.

Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 01. 2013 6:42PM
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